Preparing to work in home-based childcare

Level 3 Award in Preparing to Work in Home-based Childcare (HBCA) is the most comprehensive qualification to help you cover everything you need to become a home-based childcarer.

Here at PACEY, we've used our decades of experience to develop the HBCA award in partnership with CACHE, the awarding organisation. It will, along with the six months' free learner membership you'll get, help you prepare fully for your new career as a professional childcarer in a home-based setting.

I would just like to say that I have throughly enjoyed the online course I have just completed to be a home-based childcarer. I have never attempted an online course before but would definitely recommend it to others. The help and support is excellent and my assessor, Sally, was extremely supportive and informative. Your customer service call handlers are wonderful! I would certainly have no hesitation in recommending PACEY.

Deborah Bullen

Discover more about the registration process for childminders in England.

Preparing to Work in Home-Based Childcare is a Level 3 Award. If you want to work in a home-based childcare setting as a registered childminder, childminding assistant or nanny, it's the perfect course for you.

The qualification is also intended to help existing childcare professionals improve their expertise, covering topics from how to work effectively with children in a home-based childcare role to robust advice on setting up a home-based business. 

Course details

The average learner completes the HBCA in around three months, but in order to give you plenty of time to research and complete the assessment tasks, you will have access to your training, and the support of your expert assessor, along with learner membership of PACEY, for six months from the date of purchase.

It was incredibly well structured and the site is so easy to find your way around. The tasks also have guidance notes to give you links to useful websites. The assessor can be messaged with any queries and always got back to me promptly. I was anxious about studying online as I felt it may be a bit isolating and hard to motivate yourself without a team around you but PACEY makes it feel like you are part of a classroom environment.

PACEY online learner

The HBCA is an e-learning course completed online so you’ll need access to a computer, and some basic computer skills, to complete the course. It is designed to be flexible and to allow you to combine a qualification whilst balancing work commitments and family life. You can view your training on or offline on an Apple or Android handheld device (a phone or tablet), but you will need access to a PC or laptop in order to upload your written assignments to the e-learning platform. 

Free membership when you learn with PACEY

When you sign up to the course with PACEY you'll get six months free PACEY learner membership - there's no need to register or join separately. This means access to our online membership area full of factsheets, practice guides, sample policies and procedures, how-to videos and more, plus access to a community of 30,000 childcare professionals via PACEY Local forums.

Course structure

The award is made up of two units.

Unit 1 - Provides learners with the knowledge required to work with children in a home-based childcare setting. It covers subject areas such as:

  • legislation and regulation relating to home based childcare
  • safeguarding and child protection
  • health and safety in a home-based childcare environment
  • promoting equality, diversity and inclusion
  • day to day care routines for children
  • working in partnership
  • children’s learning and development
  • play
  • the role of observation.

Unit 2 - Prepares learners to set up a home based childcare business. It covers:

  • leading and managing a home-based childcare setting
  • financial and taxation requirements when setting up a home-based childcare setting
  • creating a business plan
  • registration requirements for home-based childcarers.

Course cost


The e-learning course usually costs £238.80 (including VAT) and will take an estimated three months to complete. You will be given six months in which to complete the course and, during this time, will have the free learner membership to PACEY that you're automatically registered for when you buy the course. Please note that learner membership does not include public liability insurance (PLI). Once you've completed your course you have the option to upgrade to Registered Childminder membership at which point you can purchase your PLI.

If you need to, you can purchase a three month extension to your course for £114, as long as you arrange this with us before your original expiry date. If the expiry date is missed you will need to re-purchase the HBCA course in full. If you choose to purchase an extension to your course, your learner membership will automatically be extended for three months, free of charge.   

Still not sure? 

Here's 5 reasons why you should do our Preparing to Work in Home-based Childcare course...

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Alternatively you can call us on 0300 003 0005 if you want to know more.

If you are under 18 years old and do not have a Sponsor, e.g. your college, you will also need to complete and return a Guarantor form.